May Day in Mexico
I had to go to Mexico to meet people on the other side of the border, and picked May Day because it’s a national holiday in that country as the workers unite. Thus, it’s easier to get around since people stayed home from work. I had a meeting at Tijuana Playas, which is there on the coast where the big march was trying to get over the border fence. The marchers took “International Worker’s Day
” off too to celebrate their communist roots… which make it strange that they’d want to get into the US rather than enjoying the worker’s paradise that is Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador.
By all accounts, the next Mexican president will be a communist as that country does a Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren and moves HARD left. Naturally that will further bankrupt an economy teetering on collapse anyway. Nobody seems to learn from history. However in Mexico, the narcos call the shots whether the PRI (Socialist Party), PAN (Conservative Party) or PRD (Communist Party) is in charge.
Thoughts on the Taliban
Are the Taliban insurgents? Insurgency is a chronic condition that reflects a basic equation of manpower and resources between the combatants.
The Taliban started as and have remained a popular movement, which is described as an ethnic and quasi-religious uprising. Most fighters are ethnic Pashtuns and have support from local Pashtun villages, even in northern Afghanistan.
The label is important because it defines the problem and, perforce, the appropriate solution. Insurgencies have been defeated. No modern national military establishment has doctrine for defeating an ethnic uprising, except mass killings and repression.
Garda World’s extensive and lengthy tracking of security in Afghanistan shows that Taliban violence occurs in all but a handful of districts. In Garda World’s color-coded matrix, no region is green, that is, safe. Violence in a district implies influence.
The Taliban are a Pakistani-generated (Pushtun) challenge to the Afghan government in Kabul. They have said and demonstrated that they have no intention or calling to carry a message outside Afghanistan.
The Islamic State seeks to make Afghanistan a base for spreading by force their medieval beliefs and practices. The Islamic State leaders said their goal is to convert South Asia.
Kabul is presumably listed as under government control, but the suicide bombers of the Islamic State influence it heavily.
I think that President Bush (unwilling to strike Saudi Arabia after 9/11) found a convenient haven for Islamic training camps and struck it because we had to attack somebody. While it was a CIA war, it went rather well. Once Big Army showed up, it became a mess where the beltway made trillions on a war. And we’re still in the mess. We all know how it will end, don’t we?
Iran and Israel
Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei threatened the United States and its allies during a Monday speech to workers. He called Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu a “liar” after Netanyahu accused Iran of deceiving the world about its nuclear program.
Netanyahu reproduced what he said were copies of Iranian files detailing a project to build nuclear weapons, which was reportedly stopped 15 years ago. Iran said it had never sought to build a bomb when it signed an international deal to curb nuclear activity in 2015.
Netanyahu’s presentation was forceful, but I have some concerns. The graphics contained no links that established that they came from the Iranian trove or any trove. Some deference to the chain of custody is essential in a briefing meant to incriminate. Most of the images on the graphics are available on the Internet.
The content of the files might make the case of a secret nuclear program, but the content of the briefing did not make that case. In my experience, graphics intended to persuade an audience must be self-proving, without explanations.
A second concern is the sheer volume of the trove would require large numbers of experts fluent in Farsi and nuclear technical terminology in Farsi months just to get a cursory sense of what the files and the CDs contained.
A third concern is the absence of dates and security classifications. The “Manhattan Project” was heavily classified. Every information security system insists on dating materials. None of the graphics contained dates or security markings.
Nuclear experts familiar with the many reports on Iran by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have posted to the web their judgment that Prime Minister Netanyahu presented no information about Iran that was not already in the public domain. He did not prove his case, but his delivery was top-drawer.
Israel attacked Iranian targets in Syria again. Syrian government sources reported that rockets struck military bases near Hama and Aleppo during the night of 29 April. Arab news sources said that the targeted bases contained several missile warehouses and were staffed with Syrian army soldiers and Iranian revolutionary guards.
The Jerusalem Post
reported the targets were an underground missile production facility and a depot for surface-to-air missiles. The production facility at Hama was built in a mountainside supposedly by North Koreans and financed by Iran. The explosion there registered 2.6 on the Richter scale
. Eyewitness reported seeing massive fireballs.
The missile storage facility was near Aleppo.
A Syrian army source told al Masdar News that the Israeli military was responsible for the attacks. The source claimed that the attacking aircraft were F-35s. He said more than 30 Syrian and Iranian soldiers were killed.
Sky News Arabia reported 18 killed and more than 60 wounded. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 26 deaths, mostly Iranians.
A retired Israeli intelligence chief judged that Israel has expanded its targeting strategy, “if the Israelis are responsible.” He said the targets previously were convoys or recent shipments. The targets on 29 April were hardened production and storage facilities.
Israeli defense minister Liberman said the Israelis are prepared for retaliation. Iranian initiatives to expand their infrastructure and presence in Syria is forcing the Israelis to escalate the air campaign and to strike deeper into Syria.
Parliament empowered the Prime Minister. The Israeli parliament passed a law authorizing the prime minister in consultation with the Defense Minister to declare war in “extreme circumstances.” Previously that decision required a vote of the Cabinet. This gives the prime minister unprecedent authority to manage the Syrian and Iranian accounts, provided no casualties result, and the situation requires urgency.
Ukrainian President Poroshenko announced the start of new operations in the east. President Poroshenko officially declared on 30 April that the ongoing anti-terror operation in Donbass (rebel-held eastern Ukraine) was over and that the Joint Forces Operation would begin.
“Starting today the large-scale anti-terror operation in the territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions is coming to an end,” Poroshenko said. “Now we are starting a military operation led by the Ukrainian Armed Forces to ensure protection of territorial integrity.”
The new plan is expected to “bring drastic changes,” giving Ukraine’s army additional powers and control over units of the National Guard, the Security Services and the National Police.
The map is the latest from the Ukrainian National Security Information Analysis Center. The line of contact remains essentially unchanged. Exchanges of fire are heaviest opposite Donetsk.
This announcement coincides with Ukraine’s receipt of US-made Javelin anti-tank missiles.
Most of Poroshenko’s announcements are theatrical, for dramatic effect. This order primarily is an organizational change that expands army control of security and law enforcement agencies in the east. Poroshenko’s announcement does not signify an offensive against Donetsk and Luhansk.
The US intention to provide the weapons has been public knowledge since March. The Russians have had time to prepare a response by their proxies.